September 2, 2014 Updates 4 Comments

The fifth paddle found in this year’s Paddle in the Park Contest has been discovered in Algonquin Provincial Park!

 

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The number of paddles left to be found somewhere in Ontario parks is down to 3 thanks to our latest paddle-finder Angela!

This means we need to draw another winner for the Algonquin Outfitters “Girls Portage” Paddle, which will be held at 12:00PM on Tuesday September 7th! You’ll remember that we’re also drawing a winner for the “Happy Camper” paddle on that day so you’ll have to make sure to get your name in the draw, as often as you can (you can do so once per day) for a chance at either draw! We’ll announce the winners shortly after we’ve been contacted by them.

Good luck everyone!!!

First Time Poetic, second time lucky

A few weeks before finding her new Tulip 57″ “BadgerTail” hand-crafted BADGER® paddle Angela and Jess, each with a four-year-old daughter in tow (Ruby and Celia, respectively) set off to enjoy some of the rewards to getting “Out There”, and maybe come home with a new paddle. They had read up about the contest and, based on clues available at the time, decided that it must be hidden somewhere near Rock Lake in Algonquin Park, and that a logical place to start would be along the Booth’s Rock Trail.

Celia and Ruby in the rain

Celia and Ruby in the rain

Unfortunately, it was raining, but the little ones were troopers, not complaining once. They had a great mother/daughter camping trip, and made the best of a soggy situation. Much like many stories we hear about unsuccessful paddling-hunting, they had a great time, filled with many memories, even if they came back home empty handed. “The fun was the search and at that point the prizes didn’t matter,” Angela would write us after her first trip. But unlike any other story, this one inspired poetry written by Jess:

From Ottawa and Haliburton these portage queens came,
to search for a paddle in the Algonquin Park rain.
For 3 long hours our 4 year old girls,
searched all the trees and under every squirrel.
Alas, we must have interpreted the clue wrong,
because we are unable to sing the “we found the paddle” song.
Tonight we’ll sleep in our warm cozy beds,
with dreams of future paddles in our heads.
It was such a fabulous way to spend a Mom/Daughter day,
thank you Paddle In The Park Contest for letting us play!

How awesome is that?! (Preston has a $10 bet that once Fiona reads this she will tear up. Let’s hope she’s honest so he can get his money.)

Jess and her daughter Celia

Jess and her daughter Celia

Jess and Angela were not the first to try to find the very special “Girls Portage” paddle and come home empty-handed. In fact, it has quickly become the Paddle In The Park Contest’s most coveted paddle to date. Hidden by none other than The “Queen of the Dreaded Portage” Andrea Wilson, and created with special love by our own “Queen Paddle Designer” Fiona, the “Girls Portage” paddle was meant to celebrate all the females out there who camp and carry-over portages, and pass along their love of the outdoors to their daughters and sons. It was inspired by Fiona’s work on a popular “Girls Portage Too” poster, which we as the contest organizers felt needed to be included  – not only the logo but the spirit behind it. And of course we thought it would be really great if a “Girl” found the “Girls Portage” paddle too!

Lots of memories for Ruby and Celia on this trip, just no new paddles.

Lots of memories for Ruby and Celia on this trip, just no new paddles.

 

On the Thursday morning before the long weekend, a new clue was posted by our friends over at Algonquin Basecamp. Apparently, it was informative enough that a large number of people took to social media to suggest they knew exactly where this special paddle was located. The race was on! We here at the contest received several messages telling us to get ready for a “Paddle Found” write-up, while others boasted on social media that they were on their way to grab it themselves, and still others shouted back “Not if I get there first!” We also noticed many posts on social media hoping that the paddle would still be there by the time they could make it up there. (And that’s just the ones we’ve heard about!) Were they all right about knowing the true location?

 

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We’ll never know, because around noon on Friday the 28th, we received an email with the most appropriate subject: “Portage Queen”. The body of the message was a simply “Look what I found” with a picture of Angela’s smiling face, holding firmly onto the “Girls Portage” paddle. Angela had also seen the latest clue, and decided to take a second trip, very close to where she had previously searched. Later she would tell us a bit more about her adventures trying to find this paddle:

When the latest clue came out yesterday afternoon, I was so excited! I knew it! I knew where it was.  It was no longer a guess.  I couldn’t ditch work that late in the day, but I was certainly coming up with some good ideas of how I could! 

I was also unsure if I should bring Ruby with me, or send her to daycare the next day, but I knew I had to look! I thought it would be fun to go back and find it together since she kept talking about it!  The 3000m portage with a 4 yr old was a bit daunting and so again I was trying to figure out the best way to carry a 4 yr old at on my back for at least part of the way. In the end I decided that as much fun as it would be, I would cover more ground and at a faster pace without her!

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I borrowed a kayak.  I packed a lunch, ditched work (who wouldn’t want to take the Friday off of a long weekend?!), dropped my girl off at daycare and made my way there for about 10:30am!

I paddled quickly and had my eye on a couple of canoes ahead of me.  As I got closer I noticed someone was at the portage already and heading up the trail. The two canoes ahead of me were starting to head there – what a busy spot for a 3000m portage!!! When we all arrived simultaneously I could see they had to unpack things, so I quickly made my way to the side, said hello and a quick chat and then grabbed my backpack and took off down the trail. 

I was pretty impressed with the ruggedness of that spot and the rocks! Good clue!  I looked over to my right and saw two pieces of rope.  I thought… Naw… It’s got to be further or at the END.  Just to be sure I peaked around the corner and then did a happy dance, with a bit of laughter!! I found it!! 

I was disappointed Ruby wasn’t with me, but I knew she would think it was pretty cool.  I took the paddle down, turned back, and went and ate my peanut butter sandwich while I admired my treasure! Good times in Algonquin Park! 

I’m a full time single mom and I do my best to take my girl on many fun adventures. Indoor climbing, paddling adventures and exploring outside! Her favorite things are camping and riding her bike! I hope to take her on many more adventures with my new paddle and hopefully a new canoe!!!   

Thanks paddle in the park contest for creating these great adventures for everyone!

Thanks so much, Angela, for the kind words and yet another great story in the Paddle In The Park Contest!

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Here is what the Angela has won, and below what is up for grabs on Monday September 7th:

[prize_package_details id=”3″]

 

[prize_package_details id=”11″]

Written by Preston
Totally not eligible to win, but I'm going to try anyway!